NEW YORK — When you enjoy a getaway, do you really get away? More and more people are finding it harder to unplug during a vacation. Now a new study shows just how glued Americans are to their mobile devices, with the average adult still checking his or her phone once every 12 minutes when vacationing.
The stunning survey of 2,000 Americans — commissioned by global tech services company Asurion — shows that the average vacationer pulls out their phones an average of 80 times in a given day — with nearly 10 percent admitting they take a peek more than 300 times daily! So much for taking time to escape from the daily routine and disconnecting: a 2017 survey by Asurion also showed people check their phones 80 times a day when they’re not on vacation.
In fact, smartphone addiction has grown so widespread, 53 percent of Americans admit they’ve never unplugged when on vacation.
“The results reveal that while people enjoy taking a vacation from everyday life, they don’t necessarily want to take a full break from their phone, which serves as their main connection to friends and family, and is a practical tool to help get around when travelling,” explains Asurion spokesperson Bettie Colombo in a statement.
What’s to blame? Forty-six percent of respondents said that keeping in touch with friends and family over social media to share their vacation fun is important to them. And of course it allows them to keep tabs on other while away: 68 percent say they still check their social media accounts during trips.
One in five participants said they prefer keep their device at hand to help them navigate new places.
Still, some do try and avoid technology at least to some degree. The average vacationer felt that four hours was the most they can stand to go without looking at their smartphone.
As for what to do if you’d like to at least give unplugging a shot on vacation, Asurion offers these tips:
- Set your phone on Do Not Disturb for select hours when you don’t want to be contacted. This allows you to use your phone when you really need to, while blocking calls that distract you from your vacation. This can be done on iPhone by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb. Android users can activate Do Not Disturb by going to Settings > Sounds and Vibration > Do Not Disturb. From there, you can pre-schedule how long you want the DND setting in effect, and allow repeat callers to get through (in case of emergency).
- You can also block out everyone while still allowing for crucial calls and texts from your closest friends and family. Under the Do Not Disturb setting, iPhone users can allow their “Favorites” list to get through. Android users can create a custom list of friends and family who can reach them.
- Need extra help weening yourself from checking your phone too often? There are many apps available to help users break their screen dependency and reduce distractions.
- The Forest app (available for both the iPhone and Android) uses gamification to help you break the screen habit by setting a timeframe (up to two hours) when you don’t want to use your phone. During that time the Forest app plants a digital seedling that slowly grows into a tree on your phone screen. The tree withers if you check your phone before your time is up.
- The Flipd app removes your phone distractions by locking you out of your phone apps during a timeframe that you designate. Or it can also do a “light lock,” which encourages you to stay off your phone, but still allows you to use it if you want to.
- You can also manually move all your phone apps into one digital folder on your phone. By not seeing the apps, you’ll be less distracted and tempted to use them, but will still be able to use them if you need to.